Paris, 10 May 2021. – NASA and the space startup Axiom Space will detail the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) today, the U.S. space agency said.
The spaceflight, named Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), is scheduled to launch no earlier than January 2022 for an eight-day mission aboard the orbiting complex, NASA said. The Axiom Space crew will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA opened the space station for commercial activities, including private astronaut missions, as part of its plan to develop a robust and competitive economy in low-Earth orbit (LEO), NASA said. Its needs for human research, technology development, and in-flight crew testing in LEO will continue after the retirement of the ISS, the agency said.
“Commercial industry will help meet these needs by providing destinations and transportation capabilities to continue these services as part of a broader low-Earth orbit economy. Enabling private astronaut missions to the station is an important step to stimulate demand for commercial human spaceflight services so that NASA can be one of many customers in low-Earth orbit”, NASA said.